Mayor breaks tie, awards police service contract to Maries County

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 1/15/20

Belle aldermen passed the decision Tuesday night with a tie vote that was broken by the mayor to contract city police services to the Maries County Sheriff’s Department.

The motion was made …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Mayor breaks tie, awards police service contract to Maries County

Posted

Belle aldermen passed the decision Tuesday night with a tie vote that was broken by the mayor to contract city police services to the Maries County Sheriff’s Department.

The motion was made by Alderman Tony Gieck and seconded by Alderman Ken Stanfield. Gieck and Stanfield voted yes, while Aldermen Jeanette Struemph and Courtney Abel voted no.

Belle Mayor Josh Seaver said he has been turning gray over this decision if it came to him breaking a tie vote.

“I feel like if we don’t try something different, we are not doing a service to you people,” Seaver told the audience of  more than 50 residents. “I am going to go ahead and vote yes on this. The motion passes.”

Many residents began yelling that the board would be replaced in April. Seaver asked the board for a 10 minute recess.

“I am very disappointed,” Struemph said as people left.  “That doesn’t mean I am not going to stand up for my city.”

Seaver said the decision is not a question of winning or losing, but a question of what is best for the city.

“We are trying to improve things for our town,” Seaver said. “People need to look at it as we are trying to improve the safety and protection of this community. It’s not that the city wins or Joe loses, it’s not that type of thing. The council is trying to do something to help improve this community.”

While Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman was not present at the meeting, he commented by phone that his department would work closely with the board.

“We will work with the council to make the transition as smooth as possible and will provide the best possible services we can to the citizens of Belle,” Heitman said.

Per the contract, Heitman said he would hire the two established Belle Police Officers, Sgt. Brian Brennan and Patrolman Jerry Coborn, along with two more officers who would be stationed in Belle.

“The first couple of months of services will be limited and deputies will be pulling double shifts until more staff is hired,” Heitman said.

The board tabled the discussion with a 4-0 vote Dec. 10 in front of nearly 70 citizens holding signs that proclaimed they support their local marshal. The Jan. 14 meeting was moved to the Belle-Bland Community Center in expectation of a similar crowd to last month, where many citizens addressed the board, saying their voices were not being heard.

While meeting rules were posted ahead of time last month, citizens asked to address the board about the police contract anyway. A town hall meeting held on Dec. 4 was meant for public discussion.

Seaver said the regularly scheduled meeting was meant for the board to deliberate their decision-making in an open forum for the public to hear. He posted meeting rules Jan. 8 on his “Josh Seaver, Mayor, Belle Missouri” Facebook page for the January meeting, “in order to keep the meeting moving expediently.” The following expectations of conduct were in effect:

As always, those wishing to address the board must sign up prior to call to order

Questions/comments will be limited to three minutes in duration. Your name will be called and you will be asked to approach the podium at which time your three minutes will begin.

Questions/comments should remain on topic and respectful.

Once the meeting has been called to order, there will be zero tolerance for outbursts or disruptive behavior of any kind. Violation of this will result in immediate removal from the building.

Signs and things of that nature will not be permitted.

The board feels there is a budget, crime and administration issue with the Belle Police Department.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment